Witness-A New Temple
The story of Pentecost is one of the most dramatic and perplexing events in the history of early Christianity. What exactly is happening and why? And is it relevant to the life of Christians in the twenty-first century? Pastor Jason Butterick explores the meaning and purpose of God's wind-breath-spirit now enabling Galilean Jews to speak the languages of the Eastern Roman world, the wild flame of God, the shekinah present first among the Patriarchs, then Tabernacle, then Temple, and now available and residing in flesh and blood temples of humanity. The former barriers and restrictions have been lifted in these last harvest days, and we are called to move from our temple precincts and into the world. Will God's wind-spirit-breath now shine and speak in you?
Witness-The Ways of the World
Jesus prays for us that we might be "in" but not "of" the world. What ways of the world should we avoid? How should we be involved in it? What shape does it take, how do we reach out that some may come to believe through our testimony? We are not called into separation but called to embrace sinners, as Jesus did. Are we? Pastor Jason Butterick shares how we can live out this gospel tension, sharing our faith without losing our calling to live a new way of thinking, seeing, and being.
Truth and Action
What is the heart of the Christian faith? If you were the only witness of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, how would you think, speak, love, and reveal the truth of your encounter? Often when we think of what truly matters about Christianity, we focus on proper (or approved) beliefs or doctrines. But when we encounter the testimony of the apostles and the gospels included in the New Testament, we discover less emphasis on belief and greater emphasis on doing. As Pastor Jason reveals, truth is revealed by who (or what) we love and how we demonstrate our devotion, our loyalty, our trust, and faith. It is through our eyes, our hands, and our feet that Jesus comes into our world and our time. Does he have yours?
What's Wrong with Religion - The Answer to Passivity
Prairie Avenue Christian Church welcomes those who are single or married, divorced or engaged, gay or straight. We welcome the filthy rich, dirt poor, or no habla inglés. We also welcome those who are crying newborns, old as dirt, skinny as a rail, or could afford to lose a few pounds. We welcome you if you are dressed to the nines or have only the shirt on your back. We welcome anyone who can sing like Stevie Wonder or who can’t carry a tune in a bucket. You are welcome here if you are just browsing, just woke up, or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you are holier than Swiss cheese or haven’t been in church since your nephew’s baptism in 1988. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, nose-pickers, tax collectors, veterans, vegetarians, and junk-food junkies. If you blew all your offering money at the gaming parlor, you are welcome here. If you are inked, pierced, or both, you are in the right place. If you are in recovery or still addicted, we are happy to see you. We welcome you because we have experienced the thrill of being welcomed by God. We were once a mess, but God willingly welcomed us through the Cross-stretched arms of Jesus. He gave His life so we could experience real life and be part of His forever family. God is delighted to see you here. We are, too! Welcome to Prairie Avenue Christian Church! The mission of Prairie Avenue Christian Church is to be learning, loving, and serving disciples of Christ from these doorsteps to the ends of the earth.
What's Wrong With Religion - The Answer to Division
Pastor Jason Butterick explores how dividing ourselves into groups, teams, parties, and fans can harm the community of faith. Letting our preferences, values, and loyalties be greater than our love of God and neighbor leads to suffering and loss. When we are divided, both sides ultimately lose. We are called to be a community by Jesus. Our allegiance to God should be primary, with other loyalties and identities secondary. One cannot be a Christian all alone but needs to be with others. Being with others may challenge and disappoint us, but forgiveness can (and does) keep us together.
What's Wrong with Religion - The Answer to Arrogance
Pastor Jason Butterick explores arrogance as a hallmark of bad religion. Often many Christians act as if they have all the answers, and any question about those answers is a sign of weak faith. The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. We are not called to know all the answers, because if we had them, we would not need God. Life gives us ambiguities, and anyone or anything that claims to have the right to be unquestioned is probably the very person or things we should question. Jesus modeled humility, rather than certainty. Faith, hope, and love give us the ability to use scriptures to guide, use experience to inform, use traditions to understand, and use reason to consider.
What's Wrong With Religion - The Answer to Negativity
Pastor Jason Butterick explores the answer good religion gives to negativity. Hopelessness is not a fruit of the spirit. What you focus on becomes you. If you only see and find bad things happening, you will think everyone and everything is bad. The ultimate bad news story was the crucifixion of Jesus. The ultimate good news story came three days later. We should give thanks in every circumstance, have hope for the future, call out societal wrongs, but more so cast a vision for a better future. Good religion reminds us that hope prevails every evil.
What's Wrong with Religion - The Answer to Judgment
Pastor Jason Butterick explores four problems with judgmental religion through the story of the woman caught in adultery in the Gospel of John. Ironically, in many of the surviving copies of John, the copyists marked this passage to be removed from the next handwritten copy. Judging is selective, destructive, hypocritical, and violates the example and teaching of Jesus. God's judgment is nearly always depicted as occurring on a final day, a judgment day well detached from earthly times. And it is not by faith or theology, but by acts of loving-kindness to people in need. Or the lack of such acts. Jesus is clear that the best way to serve God is to serve others, rather than deputizing ourselves as God's morality police or justices. Good religion encourages us not to judge, but to engage in service to bring joy to God, to assist the physically, emotionally, and spiritually hurting, and to find true meaning and fulfillment in life beyond our self-righteous perceptions.